Getting To the Root of the Family Tree

By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, October 20, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

FAMILY GATHERING -- A Dalton family member (right, with video camera) captures a milestone moment in her family history as Elizabeth Aykroyd (left) addresses a group of about 50 Dalton descendents during a dedication ceremony at Founder's Park in Hampton. The Dalton Genealogical Society is currently conducting a DNA program to specifically trace their familial roots. [Atlantic News Photo]
(Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series of articles about the Dalton Genealogical Society and its ties to the Seacoast area.)

HAMPTON -- When Dalton family members from around the globe gathered at Founder's Park recently for a special dedication ceremony, it marked a milestone for the Dalton Genealogical Society (DGS), based in England since it was first founded in 1970.

Not only did the ceremony celebrate the placement of a long-overdue family marker in Hampton's Meeting House Green Memorial Park, but it also brought just over 50 Dalton family members together for an event-filled, three-day family reunion in the immediate Seacoast area.

"It's my first visit to New England," said Howard Dalton, who had traveled across the Atlantic from England. "I'm so pleased to be a part of it."

"I think it's just a marvelous tribute to the Dalton family," said Millicent Craig, a California resident who was instrumental in organizing this annual gathering of her fellow Dalton descendants.

Four family members present at the dedication - Arnold, Clyde and Kelvin Dalton, and Kathy Scheel - are direct descendants of Philemon Dalton, the brother of 1638 founding father, Rev. Timothy Dalton. Together with their fellow Daltons hailing from England, Australia and North American locales, they took part in a well-planned schedule of activities arranged more than a year in advance for the 2006 DGS annual gathering.

Founded by Michael Dalton of Surrey, England, the DGS has three branches, one each in North America, Ireland and Australia. To keep members up-to-date with family news, they publish two journals each year, a monthly "Daltons in History" Web newsletter, and they have compiled Dalton data into the Dalton Data Bank, which is also accessible online.

The DGS is currently conducting an ongoing DNA project to match Dalton family members from around the world, an ambitious effort spearheaded by Millicent.

"I worked on the project for about three years," says Millicent. "They (the DGS) accepted it in 2003."

In fact, Millicent adds, "We have one of the largest one-name society DNA projects. It's international."

Those who took part in the recent annual gathering of the Dalton Genealogical Society were treated to a "progress report" of the Y-Chromosome DNA project. The complexities of DNA investigation were documented in a five-page handout provided to the participants, as well as in a PowerPoint presentation which described key results discovered thus far.

One of the findings indicated the presence of eight distinct "genetic families" within the Dalton surname (71 participants have been tested to date). According to the report, the 'Old World' localities where these genetic families originate include Ireland (Limerick, Meath, Westmeath, Tipperary, Kerry), England (Lancashire, Kent, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey) South Wales, and a thus-far unidentified location (possibly the United Kingdom).

Of those 71 family members who have contributed their DNA to this project (one of the largest worldwide), 31 reside in the US, 24 in the UK, and 16 in Ireland.

The DNA screenings will "determine where many of our Daltons come from," says Millicent, "and give them an idea of where they can start [tracing their lineage]." In addition, the DNA results "lay down a challenge to the members of each genetic family to document the links between their individual trees," according to the report.

Indeed, as the Dalton DNA project progresses, the results are being used to group together members into their genetic families, as well as to verify already documented Dalton family trees and testing "various hypothesis" regarding those trees. "Documenting the origins of each participant is the #1 priority" for DGS members worldwide.

Ultimately, says Michael Dalton, "it's a very exciting project." Were they around today, Hampton's founding fathers - particularly Rev. Timothy Dalton and his brother Philomen - would likely be astounded and a bit perplexed by all the genetic technology and research that has gone into discovering Dalton family roots.

On the other hand, they just might have been extremely pleased to see their legacy built on the rock-hard foundation of family ties, forever immortalized upon the humble stones that stand in Hampton's Founder's Park.

Those who would like to find out more about the Dalton Genealogical Society and the DNA project are invited to visit http://members. daltongene or http://dalton To contact the DGS's American secretary, Millicent Craig, directly, e-mail her at